Make-A-Meal Mondays: Faith As Small As A Mustard Seed

tiny foot

Image by limaoscarjuliet via Flickr

One of the greatest things about blogging is the opportunity it provides you with to read the blogs of others.

There are some fantastic writers out there!

Of course, there are only 24 hours in each day, so there is a limit to how many other blogs one can read and still have time to write one’s own. 🙂

I follow several bloggers…and there is one that I read faithfully every day.  Today’s post from Elizabeth of Mirth and Motivation is about faith in small things.

I began thinking about that and thought about a loving couple who join together and create life.  That new life is definitely a VERY small thing and what a great deal of faith parents have in their unborn child!

The tiny collection of cells that becomes a living, breathing baby and then the tiny baby, helpless and vulnerable, unable to do anything for itself except breathe and cry who becomes a toddler, unsteady on his feet.

The toddler who learns to talk and walk and write his or her name…I know it takes a lot of faith to be a parent…a lot of faith in small things…a lot of faith to see the process of raising a child from infancy to adolescence and beyond.

As parents we need to have faith in ourselves and in our ability to be good parents and also faith in our children and in their potential to grow up to be successful and happy people…as the Bible says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain – MOVE – and it will move from here to there.”

Since this is Make-A-Meal Mondays, I searched through SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING for a recipe that would be appropriate for this post…one that called for mustard in the ingredient list.


You will need: 10 oz creamy potato leek soup, 1¼ cups milk, 1¼ cups uncooked rice, 1 can tuna drained, 1 box frozen peas, ¼ lb sliced American cheese, ½ tsp mustard, 2 quart casserole dish with cover (or use aluminum foil) and a sauce pan.

1.   Mix the soup and milk in the pan and bring to a boil and then remove from heat.

2.   Put ½ of the soup mixture into a casserole dish and add the rice, tuna, peas and mustard.

3.   Pour in the remaining soup mixture and top with cheese slices.

4.   Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

5.   Serves 4.  Add a salad and fresh whole-wheat rolls for a lovely dinner.

Does your preschooler enjoy helping you in the kitchen? 

Letting your children help in meal preparation does so much to build their self-esteem.  It’s also a great way to encourage fussy eaters to try new things.  If you purchase a copy of my new parenting book, now on sale at half-price on my website, you’ll find 100 child-friendly healthful recipes that you and your child can prepare together…most take just 15 minutes to prepare.

Just 15 minutes can build your child’s self-esteem…is there a better way to spend that time?

Please stop by tomorrow for Quotable Timeless Tuesdays for some wonderful quotations about FAITH.

Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks: Academy Awards Special Edition

Classic Photo from 1937 Academy Awards at the ...

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Tonight many people will be glued in front of their televisions, watching the Academy Awards presentation. 

All across the country (and probably in other parts of the world), there will be Oscar-night parties and other celebrations to honor the winners (and losers…how can they be “losers” if those nominated were among the top 5 of all actors, actresses, movies, etc. for the entire year?).

My husband and I don’t go to the movies very often.

We actually LOVE watching movies, but don’t like the cost and inconvenience of going OUT to the movies.

So we got most of our movies for free from our local library or for $1 from Red box vending machines.:)

This past week, for President’s Day, I’ve written several posts that examine HONESTY, and how it relates to parenting.

So, my movie pick for today is GET LOW with Robert Duvall, Bill Cobbs, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray.  Although not one of the Academy Award nominees in any category, it’s a film well worth your time.

The movie examines the life of a man who has a secret he has kept to himself for many years.  He takes up the life of a hermit and finally connects with the world only because he wants to arrange a “funeral party”, inviting EVERYONE and ANYONE who has a story to tell about him…but his real reason is that he knows he is going to die soon and wants to reveal the truth…so that he can rest easy.

Look at the word DISEASE…it’s made up of two parts: DIS (meaning not) and EASE (meaning at rest or at peace or functioning smoothly). 

When we are not at peace, we are much more prone to getting sick.

Children start out in life being innocent and honest and forthright.  Some begin to practice deception and dishonesty because they learn that when you tell the truth, if the truth is something unpleasant, you will likely get into trouble.

One of the cornerstones of Positive Parental Participation is listening to our children without judgment.  Please don’t think this means that children don’t have to be responsible for their actions.  A second cornerstone of this parenting approach is to consistently expect children to accept the consequences for what they do.

The gentle parenting tips included on every other page of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING are one of the coolest parts of the book.  Do you worry that your children will not grow up the way you want them to?  Are you concerned that peer pressure may influence your children to misbehave or stray off the path you would have them follow?

Use the book with your child for just 15 minutes a day and you will be amazed at the positive results!  Head over to my website and grab a copy for half-price…only $22.50!

What will you get for $22.50? 

  • 100 story summaries of picture books your child needs to hear.
  • 100 simple eco-friendly craft projects you and your child will enjoy doing.
  • 100 child-friendly healthful recipes you and your child will have fun preparing together.
  • 100 gentle parenting tips that will inspire you and give you confidence in your own parenting abilities.
  • 365-day money-back guarantee.

Children grown and don’t need a copy for yourself?  Pick one up as a super Mother’s Day gift for a new mom, working mom of preschoolers, homeschooling mom or dad or as a great gift for someone you know who is a preschool teacher, daycare provider, babysitter or nanny.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to spend this special time with your young children…even if it is just 15 minutes a day.

Please stop by tomorrow for Make-A-Meal Mondays!

Life Happens In REAL TIME: Just 15 Minutes a Day!

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Image by State Library of Queensland, Australia via Flickr

Several weeks ago, I watched a wonderful Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation.

THE LAST VALENTINE, starring Betty White, was a poignant look at a woman who had lived her life positively and lovingly, even though a cloud of tragedy had been ever-present.

One of the things she said made a lasting impression on me.

I wanted to share it with all of you.

It really relates to my new book and the Positive Parental Participation approach that builds self-esteem, develops pre-literacy skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond.


Most of us are so busy these days.

Many two parent households have both mom and dad working at least one job each to provide the necessary income.

Single parents often have a difficult balancing act between work responsibilities and children’s needs.

But think about it.

Our children are growing up in REAL TIME.

And, in the MEANTIME, we are missing opportunities to interact positively with them because we are so BUSY, taking care of our daily responsibilities and tasks.

Do you have just 15 minutes a day to interact positively with your child?

Just 15 minutes a day can set your child on the path to a happy and successful life.

Just 15 minutes a day…read a picture book story together with your child.

Just 15 minutes a day…do a simple craft project together.

Just 15 minutes a day…prepare an easy healthful recipe with your child.

Right now…take just 2 minutes…and stop by my website to take advantage of the half-price sale and 365-day money-back guarantee.

Yesterday, I promised I would post some of the comments I’ve received from people who have already used the book and love it.  I’m only including a few…but if you have lots of time (which I know you don’t) you can click the testimonial tab on my website to read lots more. 🙂


Calling all parents and teachers!!! This book is required reading!!  I loved it!! As both a parent and sub-teacher I found the book very resourceful and helpful. The central focus of the book is to help build your child’s self-esteem. The book is full of crafting, cooking, and reading ideas! I personally enjoyed the child-friendly egg salad sandwiches…one of my kid’s favorites. We also enjoyed making egg carton alligators. My son who is 7 has always been too hard on himself and I enjoyed seeing his face light up during these activities. I give this book my mommy seal of approval.” Amber McIntyre: The Frugal Military Wife


“I loved this book. I am not very creative when it comes to activities with my kids, so this is the book for me. I have loved going to the library with my boys and picking out the books and then doing the craft and cooking. Sometimes I don’t do all three, sometimes I just do 2, but we still have so much fun. This is especially great because we live in snowy land and we get so crazy with cabin fever in the winter! I like the crafts especially because we generally always have the supplies at home!  This book is a must have for moms! I have loved using it and I have loved the bonding that my boys and I have done while using the book!”

Melissa Au: MomsReview4You


Here’s the cool thing about this book – each craft and cooking activity is tied to a children’s book.  You read the book, talk about the purpose and then do the activities as a follow up.  Each story and linked activities have a purpose – not just to have fun, but a lesson on building your child’s self-esteem.  According to Vivian, “Helping your child develop a positive self-image is one of your primary goals.”  I agree 110%!

I know to some parents, hands-on activities can be scary.  From one busy mom to another, don’t worry!  Vivian has included easy, realistic and fun activities.  Most of the supplies you will need, you probably already have lying around the house.  You will find activities like making collages, paper plate faces and animals, costumes, puppets…nothing too overwhelming.  There are also some great cooking and yummy recipes to do with your little one.

Here’s my favorite part about the Show Me How!…every story suggestion has a “Positive Parental Participation Note” in which Vivian addresses the main focus of each “lesson.”  I love these little statements because sometimes as parents we forget to focus on the positive.  The saying is to give three positive praises for every negative.  As parents it’s a lot easier to focus on the negatives – don’t do this, don’t do that, but we often forget how important that positive message is.

Show Me How! is recommended for ages 2-5, but there are definitely some hands-on activities in the book I can use right now with Christopher.  And even more exciting, I pulled out a handful of lessons to use with my kids at school.  I will definitely be sharing the book with my colleagues!
Triana: Rocky Mountain Mama


 “So, it’s near spring now, and by summer you may be signing your little one up for kindergarten or preschool.  If there is anything that you can do for them now, it’s to get them prepared.  This book is something I think all parents should have.  It has crafting, cooking and reading projects and it helps young ones get started on the reading skills they will most definitely need for school.  For those that are too young for big kid school, it has crafts and cooking activities.  This stimulates the child’s creativity, and, while having fun, they are also learning the basics they will need.  There is no doubt this book deserves 5 out of 5 stars.”

Jessica G: Review Avenues


“My little 2 1/2 year old son is a little bundle of excitement and curiosity. I have been feeling kind of bad over the last few weeks since my little Kailana was born, because I feel like I haven’t been able to spend as much time alone with him teaching him and playing with him to his heart’s desire.

Then, I received this great book, “Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting, and Cooking.” The book is a shortcut for today’s busy parents and teachers.  The simple fun-filled educational activities, easy-to-use format and gentle parenting tips give parents a newfound sense of confidence and competence in their own parenting abilities as well. If parents like me have a new baby and preschoolers at home, the book will provide instant activities that don’t need to be planned by the harried new parents.  Hooray for less stress!!!”

Your World Healthy and Natural Blog


Please stop by tomorrow for Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks.  But don’t forget to click over to my website so you can grab a copy of the book and start spending just 15 minutes a day with your child doing an activity from the book…it will be time well-spent!

15 Minutes a Day: Do You Care Enough?

Unidentified Mother & Child

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

When I was young, I wanted to become a teacher.

I believed I could help children step confidently onto the path to a successful and happy life. 

I cared enough about reaching that goal to study hard in school so that I could graduate and then pass the licensing exam.

As a kindergarten teacher, I cared enough about my pupils to spend many hours after school, choosing the best books to read to them and creating projects for them to work on.

As a parent, I cared enough about my own children to listen when they had something to say and to talk when they needed to hear me.

As a daycare provider, I cared enough about the children in my group to devise a program that provided a balanced and harmonious day of indoor and outdoor activities.

As an author, I cared enough about the future of today’s children to write a book that provides a winning combination of picture book story recommendations, simple craft projects and easy cooking activities that work together to build a positive self-image, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.

That book is now available!

You can grab a copy at half-price on my website!

The question is…DO YOU CARE ENOUGH?

I care enough about the future of today’s children to offer parents and teachers a ONE YEAR MONEY-BACK guarantee!

Buy a copy of the book and use it for 15 minutes a day for a whole year.

If, after using it for a year, you don’t feel it:

  • Helped build your child’s self-esteem
  • Developed your child’s pre-literacy skills
  • Created a positive bond between you and your child

Please return it to me for a FULL REFUND!

Do you care enough about the future of your child?

I know that being a parent can often be overwhelming.

There are bills to pay, laundry to do and dishes to wash.

Many of you have jobs outside the home as well.

Parents today practice a juggling act…trying to balance so many things.

But your responsibility to your children has top priority.

Do you care enough about the future of your child?

Buy a copy of the book and use it for 15 minutes a day.

The schools and society are often blamed when children are led astray.

But we, as parents, are the first influencers of our children.

We, as parents, are their original mentors.

Do you care enough about the future of your child to get a copy of the book and use it for 15 minutes a day?

Read one of the suggested stories and talk about it with your child…that takes only 15 minutes.


Get some construction paper, glue, scissors, an old magazine and some crayons and make one of the simple craft projects…that takes only 15 minutes.

Let your child help you prepare one of the easy healthful recipes…that takes only 15 minutes.

How important is your child to you?

Important enough to invest 15 minutes a day?

Here is a chance for you to help your child grow up to be successful in life…a person with a positive self-image.

But you have to be willing to invest the time.

Just 15 minutes a day

Use the book and see noticeable results.

But the key is in using the book.

Many products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I care enough about YOUR child to give you a 365-day money-back guarantee.

Do YOU care enough to give it a try?

Please stop by tomorrow…I’ll be sharing some of the comments from parents, educators, self-esteem experts and picture book authors who have already read the book.


Healthy Habit Thursdays: Give Your Kitchen a Health Makeover

Genre scene, woman in kitchen peeling vegetables

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

What do you think are the dirtiest, most germ-laden areas in your home?

Most people would probably say the bathroom or the kitchen.

Interestingly enough, studies reveal items like your television remote, cell phone and computer keyboard are actually the culprits!

How many of you lifted your fingertips off the keyboard just now? 🙂

No worries…you can easily clean it by turning it upside down and gently shaking to release any crumbs…then wipe with a cotton ball slightly damp with alcohol or special computer cleaning fluid and finish with an antibacterial wipe.  Clean each key…the black ones are dirty even if you can’t see the bacteria. 🙂  For more detailed information:

Even though some research has put computer keyboards, TV remotes and cell phones at the top of the germ hot-spot list, the kitchen is not far behind.

So what can you do to insure that your kitchen is a safe place to prepare and store food for your family?

Here are 6 simple steps to give your kitchen a Health Makeover!

1.   Always start with freshly washed hands when preparing or serving food…then wash hands, utensils, countertops and cutting boards, especially after touching raw meat or poultry.

2.  Promptly refrigerate leftovers…bacteria can grow at room temperature.

3.  Switch to glass food containers because some plastics contain chemicals that leech into the food.

4.  Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly and remove outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage.

5.  Wash off the tops of cans before opening…you never know who or what was crawling on the merchandise in the store warehouse.

6.  Rinse off your can opener after each use…and give it a good wash on a regular basis.

Young children love to help in the kitchen…mixing and measuring give them a sense of competence…one of the building blocks in the formation of a positive self-image.  If you are looking for fantastic fun-filled cooking activities, check out SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING, available right now at half-price on my website. 

Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is coming sooner than you think (May 8th)…why not grab a copy for a special mom or grand-mom in your life.  And maybe one for yourself!  It’s a gift that provides 100’s of fun-filled educational activities…and answers the question…what are we going to do today?

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesday: TOUGH EDDIE

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When you were a child, did you ever keep information about yourself or your family hidden from your friends?  Do you now?

While I’m not saying we need to blab on and on to friends and acquaintances about all the personal stuff in our lives, I do think that it is healthier to at least be honest about your likes and dislikes.

Let me relate a really FUNNY story about what happens when you don’t tell people how you feel…I think many of you will be shaking your heads in recognition of a similar experience.

When my husband and I were first married, my mom invited us for dinner.  Now, although she was an adequate cook, I wouldn’t put her meals in the “gourmet” category.  I’m not sure why she chose this particular recipe…she did make a fantastic roast beef…and her homemade mac and cheese was out-of-this-world!

The table was set with her best linen tablecloth and the china and silverware that she only used for “company”…everything looked beautiful!

We sat down and she brought in a large platter of chicken and tomatoes, garnished attractively with sprigs of parsley.  After everyone had taken some, we began to eat and my husband, wanting to make a good impression, complimented her on the delicious meal.  “What do you call it?” my husband asked.  “Chicken Momma Mia,” she replied.  At the end of the meal, my husband again raved about how delicious it had been, but on the way home, he admitted that he hadn’t really enjoyed it…and I agreed that it had been somewhat bland.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later…we had received another invitation to have dinner with my parents.  Again the table was beautifully laid…and again my mother brought in a platter of…you guessed it…CHICKEN MOMMA MIA!  This time my husband was a little less enthusiastic with his compliments…but I guess the damage had been done…and we were served Chicken Momma Mia several more times before we told my mother that perhaps the next time, we could enjoy one of her other culinary creations.

This is what happens when we are not honest with others.   I’m not saying one should be brutally honest…just the word “brutal” tells you that this is not a nice kind of honesty.  We can be honest without being nasty or rude or hurtful…but we should be honest.

Parents especially need to be honest with their children and in front of their children…we are their role models and they ARE watching us, all of the time…even when we don’t think they are paying attention or listening.  We want them to be honest…with themselves, with us and with others.

The picture book I am recommending today is one that is matched with a simple craft project and an easy healthful recipe in my new parenting book.   TOUGH EDDIE shows how even young children hide their likes and dislikes in order to “fit in”.


Written by Elizabeth Winthrop

Illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Eddie loves to wear his cowboy boots and thick leather belt.  He enjoys building with blocks and playing with his friends, Andrew and Phillip.  Eddie also likes playing with his very own dollhouse, but he keeps it hidden from his friends because he believes they will make fun of him.  However, he discovers that his friends would like to play with it also and that they respect him and like him as he is, no matter what he is playing with.

If we encourage our young children to pursue their own individual interests…whether or not those interests seem to be the norm, we are telling them that they are likeable as they are.  Feeling good about oneself and liking oneself are important factors in the development of a good self-image.  In addition, a child with a strong positive self-image is less likely to be influenced by peer pressure into doing what he knows is wrong.

If you’d like to have 100 story summaries like this one at your fingertips…hop over to my website, where you’ll find SHOW ME HOW! on sale right now at half-price.  Each of the 100 story recommendations is accompanied by an eco-friendly craft activity and a child-friendly recipe!  Are you a parent or teacher or grandparent of a preschooler?  Or do you need a great gift for someone who needs a shortcut to planning activities with their young children.  Grab a copy…it comes with a money-back guarantee!

Quotable Timeless Tuesdays: Honesty

Writing the Declaration of Independence 1776 c...

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Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.   –Thomas Jefferson (1762-1826) 3rd President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence.

Yesterday was President’s Day.  We honored two of our outstanding presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  One of the most famous stories connected with George Washington is the one about the cherry tree.

Honesty is the best policy.  If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.  – William Shakespeare, English playwright.

When asked by his father what happened, young George supposedly replied, “Father, I cannot tell a lie.  It was I who chopped down the cherry tree.”  Although researchers are pretty sure that the story of a young George Washington cutting down a cherry tree in his father’s orchard is false, the message behind it remains true, even today.

  One of the hardest things in the world is to admit you are wrong.  And nothing is more helpful in resolving a situation than its frank admission.  – Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Prime Minister.

For me, however, it is really important to look at honesty as it relates to young children. 

We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.  – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish playwright.

As parents, we want our children to be honest.  We want them to come to us with their problems and concerns.  If we ask them what happened or how they are feeling, we believe they should honestly communicate with us.

Pretty much all the honest truth-telling in the world is done by children.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

I think children start out being entirely honest…they don’t know about evasiveness and lying.  When does it start?  How do they learn?  Why do they lose that innocent openness they are born with?

We tell lies when we are afraid…afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.  – Tad Williams

We need to be good role models for our children when it comes to honesty.  Equally important, we must encourage our children to come to us by being non-judgmental.

 Does this mean we can allow our children to do as they please?  NO, I don’t think we can!

Should we refrain from disciplining our children when they have misbehaved or acted inappropriately?  NO, I don’t believe we should!

1.     Children need rules…parents, please be consistent.

2.     Children need to have consequences for their actions…parents, please be consistent.

3.     Children need to learn responsibility…parents, please be consistent.

Please stop by tomorrow for WHAT’S IN YOUR CHILD’S BOOKCASE WORDY WEDNESDAY.  I’ll recommend another picture book from SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING.  For the price of a couple of hot dogs and sodas at the ball game, you can own a copy of this unique resource that will help you build your child’s self-esteem and make planning fun craft and cooking activities a snap!  Stop by my website and grab a copy at half-price!